The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Its job is to produce some of the fluid that makes up semen. It is very common for the prostate to become larger in size as males age, but sometimes this can indicate something else. Read on to learn more about prostate cancer and five warning signs of prostate cancer that you should not ignore.
About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is very common among males over the age of 50. It starts with mutating cells that keep growing, eventually forming a tumor inside the prostate gland. Although it’s not completely clear why some people get prostate cancer and some don’t, it does run in families.
The good news about prostate cancer is that it’s usually a slow-growing cancer that doesn’t often spread to other areas of the body. So, the survival rate is extremely high. Still, it can occasionally become more advanced and cause serious health problems or even death. People in high-risk groups need to be very careful about monitoring prostate health.
Although you can help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer by living a healthy lifestyle, there is no reliable way to prevent the condition. So, it’s very important to get familiar with all the warning signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and keep an eye out for them, especially as you get older. Below are five warning signs of prostate cancer that you should not ignore.
1. Problems Urinating
Many symptoms of prostate cancer are related to the urinary system. Because the prostate gland is just underneath the bladder, it can put pressure on it if cancer cells begin to form into a tumor. If you have a tumor growing in your prostate gland, you might notice changes in how it feels to urinate.
You should contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain or burning during urination
- Problems holding back urine
- A weak or interrupted stream of urine
- An increased need to urinate more often, such as during the night
A lot of different health conditions can cause urinary issues. Still, it’s important to rule out anything serious, including prostate cancer, as soon as possible. Your doctor might refer you to a urologist, depending on what they find during the testing process.
2. Blood in Your Urine or Semen
Blood in your urine or semen is a symptom you definitely should not ignore, especially if you’re over 40 and it happens more than once. This can be a sign of infection or inflammation and could point to prostate cancer.
You could have blood in your urine or semen for many reasons. You might have a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, or kidney infection. Still, if you’re noticing blood where it shouldn’t be, it’s important to get checked by a doctor.
3. Erectile Dysfunction or Painful Ejaculation
Erectile dysfunction is when you cannot achieve or maintain an erection. This is a very common problem among males and has a variety of causes. One potential cause is prostate cancer.
Although you might not feel comfortable discussing sexual problems with your doctor, it’s important to investigate why you might be experiencing erectile dysfunction. Ruling out prostate cancer will give you peace of mind or the opportunity to treat the health condition promptly.
Getting your erectile dysfunction diagnosed and treated is also important for maintaining your quality of life. Making sure it isn’t a sign of prostate cancer is an important first step.
4. Lower Body and Back Pain
Pain in your lower back, hips, upper thighs, and ribs is a serious symptom that needs immediate attention. Lower body pain and swelling can be symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.
When cancer cells are confined to the prostate gland, symptoms are usually limited to urinary issues and erectile dysfunction. However, if they have a chance to spread (metastasize) beyond the prostate, cancer cells can become extremely dangerous. Pain in the lower body can be a sign that cancer has spread to the bones.
Getting a diagnosis is time-sensitive if you’re experiencing bone pain in these areas. The quicker you get a diagnosis, the quicker you can start treatment. You might need a combination of treatments if your prostate cancer has already advanced.
5. Unexplained Weight Loss
As we get older, it generally gets harder to lose weight, not easier. If you suddenly start losing weight and you’re not trying to, then you might want to call your doctor and ask them to conduct some diagnostics for prostate cancer.
Unexplained weight loss, like most other prostate cancer symptoms, can be a sign of many different health conditions. However, it’s important to find out what’s causing the problem as soon as possible to see if anything serious requires immediate treatment.
Are There Early Signs of Prostate Cancer?
It’s easiest to treat prostate cancer when it is still in its early stages. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to catch it before it begins to advance because it tends to grow slowly and stay inside the prostate gland for a long time.
Lots of people don’t notice any symptoms of prostate cancer at all. Some people never even know that they have it. Regular prostate exams can help with early detection.
If you are at risk of developing prostate cancer, taking any potential symptoms seriously is important. Your doctor should monitor your prostate for any changes so you can get treatment quickly if any issues come up.
Don’t ignore any symptoms that might point to prostate cancer. Calling your doctor immediately could improve your health outcomes and help you avoid invasive treatments. When it comes to cancer, you don’t want to take any chances.
Is it Prostate Cancer?
All these symptoms could point to prostate cancer, but they could also be symptoms of other health problems. It’s impossible to tell if you’re dealing with something like a benign growth or a late-stage tumor until your doctor runs some tests.
If you do have prostate cancer, don’t panic. It’s a highly treatable form of cancer in most cases, and many people make a full recovery. Your doctor will monitor your condition or refer you to any specialists you might need to see. Your healthcare team will help you through the treatment plan so you can enjoy many more healthy years.